Posts tagged “Bail bondsmen

Rants of a Sane Man, Part II

Bail Debacle 

Tucked inside the pending state budget is a proposal that would allow bail bondsmen to, once again, raise their ugly heads in Wisconsin. 

“Anytime you place profit-driven organizations in control of an individual’s liberty, corruption must be a major concern,” Chief Judge John Storck of the Sixth Judicial District told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The bail [bondsmen] system unfairly penalizes low-income defendants who can’t afford the un-refundable fee. It subverts the justice system, because defendants who can afford to buy their freedom – even those that may pose a relatively greater risk – are free to go at a much lower cost than under the current system.”

Judge Storck has it half right.

In states where bail bond is lawful, a private entity, typically called ‘a bondsman,’ posts a defendant’s bail.  In most instances, the defendant is required to pay the bondsmen ten percent of the total sum of the bail.  The bondsman, in turn, posts the entire amount with the court.  When the case is closed, the total amount of bail is then refunded to the bondsman, who keeps the ten percent posted by the defendant as a fee for services.

In Illinois, for example, former police sergeant Drew Peterson is awaiting trial for the alleged slaying of this third wife. Peterson is currently in custody, although his bail is set at $2 million. If Peterson provided $200,000 to a bail bondsman, the bondsman would then post the $2 million with the court.  Regardless of the case’s outcome, however, the $200,000 would forever belong to the bail bondsman. 

In the past, the powers-that-be in state government recognized that the bail bond operation fostered an atmosphere of corruption. Like other private corporations, bail bondsmen compete against each other.  Since most bail bondsmen require a ten percent non-refundable deposit from defendants, getting a leg-up on a competitor might necessitate paying a kick back to a police officer or sheriff’s deputy recommending a certain bondsman’s services. The kick back could come in the form of free tickets to sporting events, free booze, and/or discounted vacation packages. 

Moreover, in states employing a bail bond system, bail is generally much higher.  After all, like other citizens, individual bail bondsmen can contribute to political campaigns of judges. High bail set by individual judges means a larger, ten percent premium forfeited to bondsmen.  

Back in the old days, when the mob ran a protection racket in town, the term for such a fraud was ‘one hand washing the other.’

On Tap: South Side Gang War

In late May, a Milwaukee police officer fired a shot at an armed gunman near 10th and Orchard, an area with a long history of gang related trouble.  In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn held roll call for his officers on the street and told the media that trouble was brewing between three street gangs in the area.

The near south side to the east of South 20th Street is known as Latin King turf, although other gangs, the Unknown Kings and La Familia operated, in the recent past, just a few blocks to the west and north respectively, while the Mexcian Posse refuses to religate its operations to recognized geographical borders.  Another street gang infamous for dealing crack to local prostitutes, the Spanish Cobras, is attempting to sneak east of S. 19th Street.

Sources say the Latin Kings are making yet another come back, of sorts, after a second round of federal indictments.

Gangs seek to control an area to reap the rewards of the drug trade. The money is big, as are the risks, and there are no courts to arbitrate disputes in the shadowy world of the narcotics traffickers. Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based crime novel, The Cozen Protocol, is an accurate depiction of the drug underworld on the city’s south side, where two, fictional south side Latino gangs–Los Dominicanos and the Latin Maniacs–slug it out.

Like La Costa Nostra crime families, street gangs seem to have little problem filling their ranks no matter how many federal indictments come down. All law enforcement can do is make life as miserable as a possible for those profiting by destroying the social fabric of entire neighborhoods. 

This link to WTMJ radio indicates that a rash of recent violence could escalate with the summer weather:

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/124126599.html

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your organization is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files presentation The Psychology of Homicide. For more information, view the YouTube ad:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TF2kAvSSyU&feature=related

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011